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Ed Whalen fighting for his life
Family fearing worst as Calgary icon lays in coma

By MICHELE MARK -- Calgary Sun

Ed Whalen

Ed Whalen Photo Gallery
Calgary media icon Ed Whalen is fighting for his life in a Florida hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.

As the television sports patriarch lays in a coma on life-support at Bon Secours Hospital in Venice, Fla., Whalen's family is fearing the worst.

Whalen, 74, suffered a cardiac arrest while eating lunch with his wife Nomi on Saturday -- just days before the vacationing couple was to return home to Calgary.

"It doesn't look good," Whalen's son Tony said yesterday.

"They were having lunch and he basically melted out of his chair."

Whalen hasn't regained consciousness since, but Nomi is by his side in hospital, Tony said.

"She's a strong lady," he said.

"She's holding up as well as can be expected -- but he's her other half and they have one of the happiest marriages I've ever seen."

Whalen is known around the world for his commentary on Stampede Wrestling, as the first Calgary Flames play-by-play man and for his charity work.

Taking solace in the phenomenal impact his father has had on Calgarians of all ages, Tony said working with children is his father's pride and joy.

"He is so devoted to helping others and to putting a smile on the faces of people who might not normally have one."

Whalen, a longtime sportscaster for Global, was born in Saskatoon, entering medical school in his youth when a part-time job reading news lured him into a life of journalism.

He's the founding president of the Variety Club of Southern Alberta and headed the Children's Miracle Network Telethon for 16 years.

Celebrating his retirement in 1999 after 50 years in broadcast journalism, the Calgary Flames presented Whalen with an honourary Stanley Cup ring -- an honour reserved only for team members and coaches.

Calgary Flames president Ken King expressed his sadness about Whalen's condition.

"Ed represents everything that is good about Calgary and everything that is good about professional sports," he said.

"He is as human and decent a man as I have met -- and I have met many."

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